Christian Asia Bibi’s brother-in-law killed in Pakistan

Body bag of Younus, Asia Bibi's brother-in-law, lies in Pakistan. Murder of Christian minorities is a routine in Pakistan
Body bag of Younus, Asia Bibi's brother-in-law, lies in Pakistan. Murder of Christian minorities is a routine in Pakistan

Younus, the brother-in-law of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman convicted of blasphemy by a Pakistani court, was killed in Sheikhupura city of Punjab province in Pakistan on Monday. Younus was also a Christian. Minorities in Pakistan are treated like dirt.

According to the FIR, Younus had gone to his farms on May 24 and did not return home at night. His dead body with a slit throat was traced to the farm the next morning.

Local sources in Pakistan said that since Younus hailed from the minority Christian community he was bound to be killed. This is not the first time that somebody associated with Asia Bibi has been murdered in cold blood.

In 2011, Salman Taseer, the influential governor of Punjab was assassinated after he made headlines by appealing for the pardon of Asia Bibi, who had been sentenced to death for allegedly insulting Prophet Muhammad. A month after Taseer was killed, Religious Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, a Christian who spoke out against the laws, was shot dead in Islamabad underlining the threat faced by critics of the law.

Asia Bibi is now living in exile after the Supreme Court of Pakistan acquitted her based on insufficient evidence presented before it in October 2018. Recounting the severe inhuman conditions of eight years spent on death row for false blasphemy charges and about the pain of exile, Asia Bibi recently broke her silence to give her first personal insight into an ordeal that caused international outrage.

French journalist Anne-Isabelle Tollet, who has co-written a book about her, was once based in the country where she led a support campaign for her. “You already know my story through the media,” she said in the book. “But you are far from understanding my daily life in prison or my new life,” she said. “I became a prisoner of fanaticism,” she said. In prison, “tears were the only companions in the cell.”

Asia Bibi described the horrendous conditions in squalid jails in Pakistan where she was kept chained and jeered at by other detainees. Pakistan’s blasphemy laws carry a potential death sentence for anyone who insults Islam. This dubious blasphemy laws have been used to persecute minority faiths and unfairly target minorities.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan Niazi defended the country’s strict blasphemy laws during his election campaigns. The status quo is still in place. No government in Pakistan is ready to make changes to the blasphemy law due to fears of a backlash from radical Wahhabi Islamists.

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